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Sydney's own amazing race

09:30 AEST Thu Mar 17 2011
Jason Dundas quickly hopped off the couch when he was asked to compete in a Great Race around Sydney. He recruited a mate, a couple of unsuspecting female friends and they headed for Observatory Hill near the southern approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Great Race is an action-packed and exciting way to see Sydney. It has been described as a treasure hunt on steroids. You explore the hidden treasures of the CBD and Sydney Harbour foreshore, the wonders of the historical Rocks area or maybe one of the city's world-famous beaches.

Jason's Great Race became a battle of the sexes — two men against two women for two hours. It's based on winning different challenges and reaching the finishing line first. Time is of the essence.

They met up at Observatory Hill, were given a checkpoint sheet and map and it was game on. They were faced with a two-phase opening task, including a physical challenge, and the next phase is pot luck.

There are checkpoints along the way and teams huddle to decide the order they will hit them. There are various tasks and wacky challenges at the eight checkpoints — as well as four in pubs and four around The Rocks.

As challenges are completed, they receive cards spelling out S-Y-D-N-E-Y. Each letter has a different colour and once all are gathered, the final destination is revealed by text message.

Teams have different coloured balloons. They are like their life force and allow the sabotage element to be implemented. Quite acceptable and legal! Those, if any, who arrive at the end destination with balloons intact are given an extra 10 minutes to complete the task. If you pop someone else's balloon, you get five minutes. If you are clever enough to spot any gold balloons that have been placed along the way you get an extra 20 minutes!

The Rocks has a high concentration of pubs, and everyone managed to find the Mercantile, an Irish-style drinking house. That's where they faced the Jenga challenge. Jenga is a game of physical and mental skills where players take turns to remove a block from a tower and balance it on top, creating a taller and increasingly unstable structure as the game progresses. Sound easy? Don't try it with a couple of Guinnesses under your belt.

The boys cried foul and said it was more a girl thing. The girls said the boys were just sore losers.

There is a food challenge to come and best not talked about here, unless you enjoy things like chicken feet and pig intestines.

The finishing point was via Campbells Cove to Circular Quay. The girls won by just 3mm and claimed the trophy.

Winners and losers agreed it was a fantastic day and they can't wait for out-of-towners to arrive so they can take them on a Great Race.


Secret and not-so-secret locations across Sydney.


Great Race two-and-a-half hour The Rocks Romp runs on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights and day and night on weekends. Cost is from $40 per person. It includes race facilitators paraphernalia and prizes. A similar adventure in Melbourne's St Kilda will start up in May 2011.

Ibis Sydney King Street Wharf rooms start at $159 a night.

Virgin Blue has one-way flights to Sydney from:

  • Brisbane $99
  • Melbourne $102
  • Adelaide $125
  • Perth $198

Prices correct at March 17, 2011.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789

Great Race
Ph: 1300 504 152

Hotel Ibis Sydney
22 Shelley Street
King Street Wharf
Sydney, NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 8243 0700
Fax: (02) 8243 0777

User comments
This looks like heaps of fun! I cant help but notice - was the host a former Neighbours member? Brett stark ???
Just saw the show tonight! I've done the Great Race and it is so much fun. If you want an amazing birthday event or a great team building exercise to do with work mates, you need to do this. Highly recommended

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